Partnership for Leaders in Education

UVA-PLE - About



Our mission is to raise educational outcomes significantly by building on the capabilities of UVA's Darden School of Business and the School of Education and Human Development in order to strengthen district and school leadership. 

The UVA-PLE believes the limited effectiveness of school system leadership and K-12 organizational design is at the root of our national education challenges. 

  • Vision & Organizational Beliefs


    Our vision is to be a nationally recognized source for insights and delivery capacity, to help school systems develop their leadership capacity and to create the conditions in which these leaders can sustain success. 

    Organizational Beliefs

    • Transformational leadership is a primary lever and a necessary component of any lasting K-12 system or school change.
    • Leadership is not based on title; K-12 system stakeholders at all levels underestimate their ability to inspire others to confront difficult challenges, equip teams to enhance their practice and enrich cross-organizational collaboration.
    • System-level leaders must take ownership for addressing the root causes of system challenges and creating conditions in which schools can achieve remarkable, scalable and lasting improvements.
    • By coupling bold, paradigm-shifting moves with a capacity-building approach, school systems can empower remarkable, lasting results in previously underserved environments.
    • System-level change is most successful when informed by and in service to reality at individual schools while identifying opportunities to design and scale services that meet the needs of many schools.
    • Organizational change will be more successful when educational leaders compare their current conditions and practices to the research-proven system conditions and practices that empower rapid and sustainable school improvement.
    • A tailored approach to change is a critical component of empowering local leaders to identify and confront priorities based on their context and ultimately own the path forward.
    • School systems operate in a societal context marked by institutional racism, economic injustice and other systemic inequities. Educational leaders are at the forefront of addressing systems of inequity and the challenges our communities face.
    • School system leadership should be committed to equity and to prioritizing the needs of underserved students.
    • There is immense power in diverse stakeholders coming together to pursue a common purpose with shared ownership, mutual respect and inclusivity.
    • Educational leaders are at their best when they are reflective and data-driven on what they need to do differently to achieve the goals of their organization.
    • Student outcomes are the single most important measure of our partners and our success.
  • Value Proposition

    The UVA-PLE's transformative and tailored leadership development increases the capacity of district and school teams to shape their own future and achieve lasting improvements in student learning. Through multiyear executive education and on-site partnership, we drive organizational learning and collaboration that empowers teams to heighten focus, improve internal ways of working and confront difficult problems.

    Core Competencies:

    1. Increasing district and school teams' ability to identify and confront highest-leverage priorities for school improvement
    2. Building district, school and individual capacity to lead transformations (i.e., to execute rapid, high-impact school improvement)

    What Sets the UVA-PLE Core Partnership Apart? 

    Responsive approach: Our adaptive methods increase district and school capacity to identify context-based priorities and customize community-based solutions. This ensures our partnership works for each individual district and school. 

    Change that stems from the roots: Major improvement demands committed organizational leadership and honest reflection on system level challenges. Our guidance enables partners to create and strengthen systems that address their foundational needs. 

    Lessons in essential capabilities: We challenge educators to transcend, asking the tough questions necessary to better leverage the talents of others and boost students in complex environments. Instilling self-sufficiency is key. 

    Embedded support: To help leaders stay the course, our team delivers tailored support all year round.